One question I get often is “What do I wear to a wedding?” so today I am going to give you some suggestions. Not only about regular church weddings with a reception afterward, but weddings of different attire as well. Think destination, outdoor or a daytime affair. I also wanted to give you different options so I’m discussing dresses, shoes, and accessories picked by myself and Ramsey as well. Let’s break it down because wedding season is in full swing!
For a black tie wedding, most women wear a long evening gown like this. However, a fancy pantsuit or chic cocktail dress is appropriate as well. It’s always good to check with friends attending or in the wedding if there’s any question or doubt about the length. I think it’s always better to be safe and go for a dressier, long dress like this one. In case the invitation reads “white tie”, a dressy floor-length gown is definitely expected. I would recommend wearing heels to a black tie wedding too. If you have a hard time wearing heels, go for short block heels or kitten heels like these. Bottom line: You can never be too overdressed for a black tie wedding!
Formal / Black Tie Optional
A formal wedding is slightly less formal than black tie. The choices for women are essentially the same as a black tie wedding though. So a long dress or a formal cocktail dress and heels work beautifully at a formal wedding. The main difference is just for the men who are not required to wear a tuxedo like they would be for a black tie wedding. Yet, the wedding will be nice enough for a tux to still be appropriate. Many couples do request “black tie optional,” which is also along the lines of formal attire. They both simply suggest something a little less formal than black tie. This beautiful dress is a great option for a black tie optional wedding. Style Tip: If your husband or date owns a tuxedo, have them wear it.
Cocktail attire is a bit less formal than black tie and black tie optional. Try this cocktail dress or even a nice jumpsuit. These cocktail pants would be lovely with this pretty top as well if you don’t like to show your legs. I’d suggest still wearing easy heels like these to a cocktail attire wedding.
Semi-formal would be somewhere in between formal and casual. You could wear a dressy skirt and nice top. A more casual cocktail dress or simple tea-length dress would be great! Even wedges work for this type of wedding.
Casual or Daytime
A casual wedding is pretty easy, as you can wear a shorter sundress. Dress pants with a nice top or a skirt is also appropriate. If a wedding is during the day, I would suggest a more casual dress like this unless specified differently. Still wear wedges, dressy sandals, or nice flats. Think dressy casual but never go the route of being too casual. It’s a fine line!
For an outdoor wedding, think about the weather in advance as much as you can. Bring a shawl if it will be chilly and rainy. This is always a good option as well for those that don’t love their arms. Also, avoid fabrics like silk or suede if you think it will rain or be so hot that you’ll be sweating. Make sure you wear block heels or wedges that you don’t mind getting a little dirty. Outdoor weddings tend to involve lawns and grass. A spike high heel will sink into the lawn and easily cause a twisted ankle. If you need to, wear flats.
This is what I’ve gotten many questions about. At a “beach formal” wedding, don’t be surprised to see the men in Mexican shirts, or guayaberas as they’re called. These are very popular. As for the women, I’d opt for an elegant dress that is appropriate for the elements. This one here is perfect. If the wedding is “beach casual” try an airy maxi dress. Definitely wear wedges, block heels, or nice sandals. You don’t want to sink in the sand. Style Tip: It is never appropriate to wear a swim cover-up to a beach wedding. Believe me, I’ve seen it all!
Lastly, a new dress code on destination wedding invites lately is “festive attire,” which I admit can be confusing. This basically just means party or cocktail dresses in bold colors and fun accessories like these cute earrings. Have fun and be playful with your look! Also note that when attending a destination wedding, whether it is in the mountains or at a beach resort, you will most likely be invited to several events. The rehearsal dinner, welcome dinner and fall-out brunch are popular events that most out-of-town guests are included in. You will need several chic outfits, shoes and accessories to attend these events.
I hope this clarifies what to wear to weddings, as I know wedding season is in full swing and only speeding up. One last tip to leave with you…please don’t wear white. EVER! I’m shocked how many people where white or off-white to a wedding these days.
xoxo – Tanya
P.S. All the photos of me are from past blog posts. As such, all of these dresses I have on are sold out but I linked similar.
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photo: Audrie Dollins